Trojan Profile: Desiree Shields


David Brennan

Starting a nonprofit charity is uncommon for someone in high school to do. Desiree Shields started her organization, Topeka Blessing Shop, to give assistance to people around her community.  

“It is just mainly helping people in the Topeka and Shawnee County area that can’t always get what they need,” Shields, freshman, said.  “We provide clothing, food, I also help people pay their bills, like if you cannot afford to pay your gas bill or something, then I always help out and do that. I also help get hygiene things and stuff like.”

She has been running the charity for a year and a half and is currently trying to get a building for people to come in and get whatever they need. Her inspiration came from learning about the poverty other nations and applying it to Topeka.

“One day my mom and I were watching this documentary about other places and other countries, and how poor they were and I just started thinking about how some people in my community don’t necessary have everything they need,” Shields said. “I just felt I should do something about that and my mom said maybe you should start with a charity and I thought it was a good idea.”

She is currently waiting to receive her nonprofit license which takes about eighteen months. Although the process of receiving the license has been a challenge, her organization has raised thousands of dollars and can be reached through Facebook.

“[We have raised] Quite a bit actually. Last Christmas, I had a lot of people talking about how they needed some extra money to go get their kids Christmas presents. We actually had someone donate 20- $100 gifts cards to Wal-Mart so they could go get certain things like Christmas dinners and it was just super sweet. I would say we have raised roughly $5000.”